In his natural habitat, June 2004
Exhibited at The Powell Cotton Museum, Birchington, Kent
In his natural habitat is a series of photographs that were taken to document a performance in the grounds of Quex Park and Powell Cotton Museum, Birchington , Kent. The piece was inspired by the obscure collection of animals, photographs and memorabila collected from other cultures all over the world by Mr Powell Cotton in the 1800's.
I made the piece of work in collaboration with the students at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury. We responded to the museum's collection and then exhibited our work in the Powell Cotton Museum. The art works were exhibited amongst the museum artifacts, in cabinets, in the corridors, so that some of the pieces look as if they were part of the musuem collection.
"In his natural habitat" is a response to the hunting, stalking and observing Powell Cotton spent most of his time doing in Africa. I used an actor and dressed him in clothing, similar to what i saw in the photographs of Mr Powell Cotton. I then directed the actor within the grounds of Quex Park, Mr Powell Cotton's home. I printed the photographs in with a sepia tone to resemble the original photographs of Powell Cotton. I also took the photographs in bushes and behind trees to give the impression that something or someone was being watched and hunted, like an animal.
In his quest to record history, other cultures and animals during the 1800's Powell Cotton is now a minor celebrity, therefore sighting him in his home is a rare and magical moment.